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New ocean conservation non-profit established in San Diego

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Long-time San Diego recreational and science divers Barbara Lloyd and Michael Bear have joined forces to establish an ocean conservation non-profit organization, called Ocean Sanctuaries, devoted to species conservation, ocean sustainability as well as supporting citizen science projects and documentary films which involve the ocean.

Lloyd, who is a life-long resident of San Diego as well as an experienced SCUBA diver and filmmaker (http://vimeo.com/stellalunaprod) felt the 'time had come' for an ocean conservancy non-profit to be established in San Diego.

As Lloyd points out, 'Many organizations exist for a very specific cause like 'save the whales,' or 'save the sharks,' and that is great. And yet it is people who must take action. As a mentor of mine said, 'The Oceans are the consciousness of Humanity.'

She goes on to say, 'And so, we have envisioned an organization which is a collaboration between citizen scientists, scientists, and other like minded organizations to foster greater understanding, wise ecology, species protection and good stewardship of the ocean and related habitats. We hope to do this by creating a community which educates and shares information through multi-media, social media, and the web. We also make data and imagery, gathered by citizen scientists, available to the general public, scientists, and other organizations.'

Bear, who is also an experienced local diver, and writes for Marine Science Today (marinesciencetoday.com) and California Diver Magazine (californiadiver.com) agreed and felt the time had come also. While there is certainly no shortage of ocean-related non-profit groups (NPOs), it is important, he said, to establish one with a clearly defined mission and goals. Full disclosure: Bear is also on the Board of Ocean Sanctuaries.

Part of this will involve support and incorporation of local citizen science projects already underway, such as the Sevengill Shark Tracking Project that Bear established in 2010, to monitor and track Sevengill sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus) in the San Diego area, using pattern recognition to analyze the freckling patterns on their dorsal sides. This involves using photographs taken by local San Diego divers who have been trained to recognize this species and obtain high definition photographs from various angles.

For an example of how this algorithm, called Wildbook, developed by Jason Allan Holmberg is being used to successfully ID Whale Sharks, see: www.whaleshark.org and for the scientific methodology involved in the Sevengill Shark Tracking Project, see here: http://sevengillsharksightings.org/our-methodology-introduction/

Also participating on the Board will be Greg Amptman (http://greg-amptman.artistwebsites.com/), a professional photographer for Shark Diver Magazine (http://www.sharkdivermag.com/), who will be supervising underwater still photography for the organization.

Ocean Sanctuaries is here on the web: http://oceansanctuaries.org/wordpress/

and on Twitter here: @OSanctuaries

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